My boyfriend is pretty much awesome, except for the one time that he cheated on me while tripping with his female friend. This sucked and was horrible, but we decided our relationship was too good to chuck away over one mistake. I wanted him to stop this friendship, but he won't take the request. I think that it is a simple way of showing that he cares about my feelings and has no feelings for his friend. It hurts me that he does this. Plus, she always comes into my work and pretends like she doesn't know me; the three of us hung out all the time before. I'm literally taking her order at the register and she mumbles, slides cash across the counter and slinks to a booth. Then he comes home and tells me what an awesome day they had and how she has nothing but respect for me...
I didn't do anything, but I keep getting punished. Should I get out of this relationship? I feel like I've spelled it out for him as clearly as I can, but it's not getting through. This town is too small for these awkward run-ins and weird interactions. I just want my sweet boyfriend back and for her to stop showing up during my shifts.
Too Much to Ask?
So, your boyfriend is awesome, except for the cheating, the hurting your feelings, the inability to choose you over her and his insistence that she, like, totally respects you? Wow. I can see why you’re reluctant to let go. You’re going to have to either break up with him or live with the fact that he doesn’t really care how you feel. Your choice, of course, but I know what I would do.
I have been single for almost four years. The last guy I dated I thought I was going to marry. We were together for a couple of years, mostly long distance due to various circumstances that were temporary. These circumstances never got the chance to change, though, because we ended up breaking up before we could live in the same place. I have gone on a couple of dates, but I am really shy and am terrible at making first impressions. My friends think I’m hopeless, but they keep trying to set me up anyway.
The thing is, every once in awhile my ex will get in touch. Things will seem great; there will be flirting and calls and letters and plans start forming to make a visit. Then they never materialize. He always ends up backing out. And just so you know, all of the circumstances from before are over. There is no reason why he couldn’t come here if he really wanted to. I have been disappointed by this guy so many times, and I know better than to believe him, but then something happens that makes me think of him or whatever, and I drift back into old patterns. I know that I should just erase him from my life, but part of me thinks that maybe he really was The One and that he got away. Why is this happening? What can I do?
It is common practice to fall back on the last relationship you had when you are having trouble finding a new one, Wallflower. The problem is that, in the face of loneliness and sexlessness, even the crappiest former partner or lover starts to seem really attractive in retrospect. I think it’s easy to forget a lot of the bad stuff because most people have memorized all of the good stuff down to the last detail. At least, that’s what we should be doing. Think about it: When things are good, do you find yourself just stepping back and savoring the moment, remembering the details? And often when things are bad there’s either blind rage or a form of denial or self-preservation kicking in, so later the details become kind of fuzzy?
This guy is not good for you, W. That is clear. He isn’t The One; he’s just One of the Many Who Might Have Been. And the longer this goes on, the worse it is. The only way to deal with it is to not deal with him at all. No calls, no texts, no sneaking a peek at his damned Facebook status. The best thing to do, really, is erase him: “unfriend” him in real life as well as online. It’s the only way you will ever move forward. Then, put yourself in a position to meet more people with your interests that will not involve trying to make a good quick first impression. Take a class, volunteer, join a sports or dart league, etc. I know I say this all the time, but it is especially important if you are awkward in forced social situations. Whether we think of it this way or not, standard social settings are like speed dating. It is very rare that you will be able to get comfortable and get much across to a potential date (or discover much about them) while you’re standing in the kitchen at a party, or shouting pleasantries over the ambient noise at a bar. If you pursue things that are interesting to you, you will naturally find yourself among other people with similar interests. And once you take the pressure off of yourself to find somebody, it is much more likely that you will.
Confidential to Gringo: I don’t think her family is as big an issue as the distance. If you really want to try to make this relationship work, then you have to be there with her. Her family is probably just trying to protect her from what they see as an inevitable and painful breakup. Why not just go there and see if you can make it work? Give yourself at least a few months. Maybe if you get to know them better, they will work with you rather than trying to convince her to dump you.